Student media win seven Society of Professional Journalist awards

* This article originally appeared on the Annenberg TV News website *

Journalists from three USC Annenberg student media organizations were recognized this week with seven Mark of Excellence Awards from the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).

Entries from Annenberg TV News, Neon Tommy and Annenberg Radio News were selected as finalists in the SPJ Region 11.

The winners were chosen from all submissions in California, Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Neon Tommy editor-in-chief Catherine Green said the awards are a testiment to the work ethic and talent of USC journalists.

"We're thrilled to be recognized along with two other top-notch Annenberg outlets," Green said. "These seven awards among us just go to show that diligent reporting is alive and well in USC's young, enterprising journalists."

Paige Brettingen, Managing Editor of Neon Tommy, expressed her pride and excitement upon winning the award.

"I'm so excited by the news and so honored to be part of such an extraordinary team with Neon Tommy and proud of the countless hard work every reporter there has shown," Brettingen said.

The awards will be presented during the Region 11 Spring Conference April 12-13 at the South Point Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

"The honors reinforce our desire to provide meaningful stories to this region and help will inspire the next generation of Neon Tommy staff," said Paresh Dave, Executive Director of Neon Tommy.

The first place entry in each category will advance to the national level. All winners will be featured on

Mark of Excellence awards are presented annually by the Society of Professional Journalists. The awards offer categories for print, radio, television and online collegiate journalism. The entries are judged based on overall excellence in various criteria including the report's creativity, accuracy and clarity.

Students won awards in the following categories:

Television General News Reporting

Vicki Chen (ATVN) for Urban Barn Teaches Teamwork through Horseback Riding

Radio Feature

Aaron Schrank (Annenberg Radio News) for Hearing music for the first time

Online In-Depth Reporting (Large)

Catherine Green, Agnus-Dei Farrant & Matt Pressberg (Neon Tommy) for L.A. Riots: 20 Years After The Unrest

Online News Reporting (Large)

Catherine Green, Corrina Shuange Liu, Paige Brettingen & Benjamin Gottlieb (Neon Tommy) for Ongoing Coverage Of April 2012 USC Shooting

Online Opinion & Commentary (Large)

Tom Dotan (Neon Tommy) for Columns

Online Sports Reporting (Large)

Jonathan Kendrick (Neon Tommy) for How High School Eligibility Rules Spiked Todd Hunt's Football Dreams

Best Independent Online Student Publication (Large)

Staff (Neon Tommy) for